Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
With all the talk of helmet-to-helmet hits, concussions and long-term disability, regular football on-the-field violence just seems so mundane, doesn’t it? It’s absolutely true that concussions have become the sexy injury in sports — so to speak — and certainly the sexy topic in terms of the safety of athletes. For years there had been stories about the challenges NFL players were facing in their post-playing days, and every so often someone like Paul Kariya would remind fans that head injuries are serious business. However, with Sidney Crosby‘s extended concussion absence and the death of former Wild and Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard (and the massive New York Times piece that examined the circumstances of his death), concussions were suddenly too big an issue to ignore. Likewise, Steve Young‘s multiple concussions in the NFL didn’t seem so quaint anymore, and under pressure from the Players Association football has been working to prevent incidents such as two weeks ago, when marquee quarterbacks Michael Vick, Jay Cutler and Alex Smith all went down with concussions. The problem is, while the NFL has spent so much time and effort trying to (at least publicly) combat concussions and head injuries, it feels like it’s letting other violence get swept under the rug. How else to explain the lack of a suspensionfor the Lions’ Ndamukong Suh‘s apparent kick to the groin of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. Worse yet was Saints defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley‘s undeniably intentional kick to the head of the 49ers’ Alex Boone — and he, too, it appears, will get off without a suspension. On the play, there’s no question that Boone added to the frustration or was equally culpable of creating a hostile situation after a blocked 49ers field goal attempt. Likewise, convention NFL wisdom says it’s the one who retaliates who will always be punished, but there was a huge difference between the actions of Boone and Bunkley. Bunkley literally kicked a man while he was down and defenseless — in the head, no less. Of course, if Bunkley had committed an accidental helmet-to-helmet tackle, the conversation regarding a possible suspension would still be very serious, not already ruled unworthy of a suspension. And that’s a huge problem. In short, intent should count for something. By all reports, Ed Reed, for instance, is not a dirty player, but when you tackle like he does it’s hard to adjust last-second and avoid certain helmet-to-helmet contact. Yet he’s the one who was seriously looking down a one-game suspension for his actions. Bunkley, meanwhile, is allowed to engage in actions which are undeniably malicious, and clearly intended to cause injury to his opponent — and, moreover, how is kicking a head any less likely to cause a concussion than helmet-to-helmet? And that’s the problem with the NFL’s system of punishment right now. By all outward appearances, unless your specific indiscretion deals directly with helmet-to-helmet tackling and concussions, then it doesn’t seem to be a concern of the NFL — as evidenced by Suh and Bunkley. These are the kind of decisions which absolutely wreak of a league worried about it’s public relations with mothers who have kids in pee wee football, while trying to cater to a different crowd and show that the NFL still allows for physicality and after-the-whistle, old-fashioned shenanigans. The NFL should start getting serious about all dangerous plays if it wants to continue to be taken seriously.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

With Hunter Pence out, Giants have options

Dustin Pedroia on confidence after grand slam: 'Just watch'

Jon Jones thinks he can beat Cain Velasquez

Larry Bird jokes about pose of Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Barry Switzer urged Cowboys to draft Murray with great quote

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

SF Giants file brief in support of gay marriage to Supreme Court

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

Brian Hoyer praises Johnny Manziel for checking into rehab

Dockett: I would have signed with Cardinals for less money

Report: Darrelle Revis' decision to come down to Patriots, Jets

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

WATCH: Duncan Keith makes young girl's dream come true

Top 10 storylines to watch in spring practice

Analyzing the top-five free agent quarterbacks

Five NBA players set to make biggest impact down the stretch

Five areas the Eagles must address this offseason

WATCH: Craig Sager emotional in warm welcome back to TNT

Likeliest landing spots for Ndamukong Suh

Tigers pitcher Alfredo Simon drives a chrome Mercedes

WATCH: Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs who doubts her ability

Michelle Beadle’s campaign to be cast in ‘Sharknado 3′ pays off

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Dodgers will have a tough time dumping Andre Ethier

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

With Pence out, Giants have options

Analyzing the top-five free agent QBs

NBA players set to make biggest impact

Larry Bird trash talks Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Likeliest landing spots for Suh

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Mayweather waited for Pacquiao to get old, right?

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

AP will have 'robots' writing game stories

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.